A list of supplements that don’t work very well in the versions sold in the US

nutritional therapy, supplements
Updated October 22, 2020. Originally posted November 19, 2011. Over the years I've learned that some of the nutrient supplements on the shelves in the US don't work very well, either because a significant part of the population can't process them, or because the version used is poorly absorbed by the body, or because they are so cheaply formulated that the filler would make you sick before you could get enough of the active ingredient to resolve your deficiency. Here's everything I know so far. Needless to say, the better versions are more expensive and harder to find. Folic acid Processing this synthetic vitamin into its active form requires methyl groups and those of us who are methyl-challenged (low methylators) need to use the methylfolate version. Some sources say that…
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Headaches and migraines

symptoms and conditions
Updated 03/12/13: P5P, a form of vitamin B6, seems to have solved a lot of this. See related link below. My two migraine episodes were the usual tennis-ball-filled-almost-but-not-quite-to-bursting-with-boiling-oil-behind-your-right-eye kind of thing, caused by the old clich√© MSG. The first culprit was a Chinese restaurant. The second, after I "got healthy," was a package of sunflower seeds. All I'm saying is that never happened to me with Oreos. Later I developed headaches, but not full-fledged migraines, from the amino acid L-glutamine, which I used to heal my celiac-ravaged lower intestine. Apparently this is a common reaction for people who also react to monosodium glutamate (MSG). The body can convert glutamine into the amino acid glutamate. It was still very helpful but I had to be careful how much I used. As…
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Three strange and unexpected effects of correcting a vitamin or mineral deficiency

nutritional therapy
1. Vivid dreams. This effect of vitamin B6 is fairly well-known. Some members of Yahoo's pyroluria group (pyroluria is a condition in which vitamin B6 is chronically deficient) say that you're at the right dose when your remembered dreams are pleasant, and that you're on too much if they are too vivid or jittery-making, but I've never come to any conclusion myself. 2. Random, pointless memories. I've occasionally experienced this when repleting with big doses of calcium, magnesium, iron, or B12, all closely associated with memory. At the same time I realized I could recall long-forgotten Photoshop commands or go to the grocery store without a shopping list, I would also be visited by utterly insignificant memories floating across my brain: the brickwork around the entrance to a store in…
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How I treated carpal tunnel syndrome

symptoms and conditions
This was straightforward enough: vitamin B6. Carpal tunnel syndrome was endemic among my fellow data entry workers in XYZ insurance company's workers' comp processing department. About every tenth woman there (we were 98% women) wore a wrist brace. I escaped their fate until a few years later at another typing-intensive job, by which time I had already heard about the connection with vitamin B6. I don't remember how much I used, but it wasn't crazy -- maybe 100 mg a day? I might also have been taking B-complex, which would be another 50 mg of B6. It didn't take long to work -- a month at most. I continued to take it long after the pain disappeared, as I was nervous about the possibility of the pain returning, since I…
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